If you’ve even thought twice about drinking raw milk, you’re likely familiar with the controversy surrounding this natural, farm-based beverage. Local farmers and health advocates touting the benefits raw milk are up in arms against government food-regulating agencies that say it’s dangerous to drink. We’re not here to choose sides, but we do want you to be versed in this ongoing debate.
Raw milk is milk that hasn’t been pasteurized or homogenized. In conventional milk production, pasteurization takes place to kill off harmful pathogens that might be present in the milk; pasteurization can also be done right in your own home (as shown in the infographic below). During homogenization, fat particles present in the liquid are broken up and distributed uniformly so there’s no cream on top. Some say this improves milk’s digestibility, while others claim it contributes to diet-related diseases.
The difference between raw and processed milk might seem like a simple po-tAY-to/po-tAH-to preference, but the truth is, this subject gets people really fired up. In fact, milk issues have been igniting controversy for decades. (Just check out “An Incomplete History of Milk” below.) To make matters worse, the legality of raw milk sales across the country spans from completely prohibited to completely legal, with a lot of gray area in between. (Note: The map on the infographic is accurate as of October 2014. Check out FarmToConsumer.org for an updated version.)
If you’re new to the raw-milk debate, the information below will give you some talking points in the conversation—but don’t stop your research there. Continue to seek out information on your own so you, too, can form a solid opinion.
Read more about milk on HobbyFarms.com:
- 5 Ways to Market Your Raw Milk—Quietly
- Got (Homegrown) Milk?
- Prepare Tasty Goat’s Milk That Keeps Well
- How to Milk a Cow
- Milk Cows Once a Day
- How to Milk a Goat